What I Did On My Vacation. By Karen.
An introduction to my New Year’s resolution

I took a week off.  Don’t know if you noticed.  For one full week I didn’t post a single thing.  I’m a bad blogger.  Bad blogger.  All the uppity, better bloggers worked right through the Christmas vacation.  Or at least they appeared to. What they probably did was kill themselves prior to Christmas writing extra posts, which they then posted last week, making it appear as though they were working, when in fact they were farting on the couch.

But I digress.

I vowed that during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day I was going to acquaint myself with relaxing.  I’m not sure if my true personality transcends this whole Internet thing, but the truth is … I’m kindda hyper.   If this were a job interview  I would rephrase that as “I like to stay active and am self-motivated”.

So for one week I forced myself to relax.

I had no idea, but as it turns out, I’m kind of an excellent relaxer.  A champion relaxer.  I’m destined  to win prizes and stuff  for it.  I’m very proud of this because until recently (last week) I judged people who relaxed.  For years, when people told me they were “relaxing”, what I heard was “I’m a mouth breathing idiot who’s fascinated by my own toes”.  To me, people who relaxed were looooooosers.  People who didn’t have anything important to do.  You know.  Like empty the dishwasher.

Then this year, I started to understand the importance of relaxing.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older and wiser or older and wrinklier, but I definitely see the benefits to relaxing as I age.  Relaxing isn’t selfish, or self indulgent or a waste of time.  It’s an important part of life.  As important as working, playing, exercising or buying toilet paper only when it’s on sale.

So I’d like to introduce you to the new me … the me I found on vacation … “Relaxing Karen”.  Observe me in my natural habitat …


I curled up on the couch and did some knitting.  Yeah.  I probably farted too.




I got a bit bored with knitting so I figured making 32 jars of homemade chicken stock and pressure canning it was kind of relaxing.


pizza dough

I want to relax in the typical way, but … I got a new cookbook I’ve been dying for.  Hard to “relax” when there’s a pizza dough recipe just lookin’ at ya.



pizza sauce

And can you believe I’ve NEVER made my own pizza sauce from scratch??  Decided it was best to try to do that while I had some time on my hands.



silk screen

And then I taught myself to silk screen.  That’s when time ran out and my relaxing vacation was over, so I never got a chance to figure out how to speak Mandarin. Which kindda sucks.



Clearly I’m not ready for the relaxing championships as of yet, but I’m still in training.  And frankly, teaching myself to silk screen is relaxing to me.   So my New Year’s resolution is to not only make time to relax, but to actually relax during that time.

The fella’s New Year’s resolution is to run The Around the Bay Road Race in Hamilton.  He’s in training for it by increasing the amount he runs around every day.

I’m in training for my New Year’s resolution by increasing the amount I don’t run around every day.

So here’s where things get good for you.  The fact that I took a week off, combined with the fact that I didn’t exactly “relax”, means I came up with a few new things to teach you.  You can look forward to learning each and every thing I did during my “relaxation” vacation in the near future.

You’re welcome.  Fart.


  1. Hi Karen…my friend Maureen fm It’s All Connected sent me your website to check out…she’s told me some funny stories from your site and she’s absolutely right…you are hilarious! Following your blog for sure…supporting fellow Canadian Bloggers as well! xo

    P.S. RELAX!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Wendy – I’m glad you found my site. I’d leave a longer welcome note for you but I’m busy relaxing by cleaning the kitchen. And the bathroom. And maybe thinking about putting on a small addition before lunch. ~ karen

  2. ev says:

    I did indeed miss your posts, Karen! I looked every dull day and did not see your happy shining words. I hope you did have a good time practicing relaxing. You earned it and I am soooo glad you’re back.

  3. Kate says:

    Oh my gosh I ONLY buy toilet paper when it’s on sale too! My boyfriend thinks I’m crazy because we end up with 48 spare toilet rolls sitting in the laundry when there’s a really good deal on, but I think that’s perfectly normal, right?

  4. Chau says:

    Missed you Karen. Welcome back and happy New Year.

  5. Lilia says:

    Can you teach us how to silk screen? Please. That sounds like fun! :D

  6. dana says:

    Please give a silk screen tutorial. I know how to do it, and it’s so doable, I think your readers would love it! For now, what did you make? Didn’t see the design, but I hope it’s chickens. Happy New Year, Karen!

  7. Dru says:

    you inspired me to decorate for Christmas with your early December throw down..when do these things get packed up? Are ya done with that already? I can’t seem to relax with all this stuff..everywhere.. ;)!

    glad you are back!

    • Karen says:

      Dru – Oh yes. Everything gets packed up on either January 1st or 2nd. It took a solid 12 hours, non stop to put everything away and get the house back together. Christmas has been killed. ~ karen

  8. Jen says:

    Wow…that was like a teaser roll…with all the good posts to come?!? I’m really looking forward to the stock one! Welcome back.

  9. kelliblue says:

    Happy New Year and welcome back, you were missed! Your week of *cough* relaxation sounds like mine, but yours was much more productive – I just ran around all over town visiting, shopping, lunching, erranding, etcetering…

    So can we expect a pizza recipe and a silkscreening lesson soon? :)

  10. crystal says:

    I only checked your blog twice a day last week…..just hoping you had forgotten or changed your mind about taking that week off! Lol

  11. Kasia says:

    It wasn’t until the silk screening that I actually realized you were jesting about the relaxing!! So, for many of us, knitting, cooking and baking ARE relaxing! Ha!

  12. erin hall {i can craft that} says:

    I am glad you dont relax well

  13. Annie says:

    I’m dying to know what cookbook you got! (BTW, how hard is it to pressure can? Do you need just a regular pressure cooker or is it a special pressure canner?)

  14. Sherri says:

    I made the best of your vacation and read every blog post you’ve written on theartofdoingstuff.com during your week off. It was the perfect activity for the couch potato relaxer/slacker I was during my week off of work. I also found the answer to a burning question I’ve had since I found your blog a few months ago–has Karen been this funny since the beginning or is her sense of humor a recently acquired talent?–the answer: you’ve been funny and entertaining since the beginning! I’m not sure how I’ll fill my time the next time you decide to take some time off. I might actually have to try one of your diy projects. Take care, Karen, and welcome back to the world of working women.

  15. That chicken stock looks amaaaaaazing.

    • Karen says:

      Kristi – The stock turned out to be the best stock I’ve made. Full of leftover roast chickens and Christmas turkey! ~ karen

      • I read a hint to freeze all old carcasses to make a really killer stock instead of in dribs and drabs – my family are caustic enough about my love of tripe and liver etc, if I filled the freezer with bones they’d have me committed…unless you would take me in?

  16. Gayla T says:

    Honey, you will have plenty of time to relax when you are dead. I’m going to be 67 this month and getting very worried that I will not get all the things done I’ve bought craft supplies to make before I die. I’ve had so many great ideas and no time to do them while I was working but since I usually bought the supplies I wouuld tell me that I would get a round to it whnen I retired. I had to retire ten years ago because of health issures and have not even made a dent in the stuff in my craft room. So, hurry up. You never know when you will run out of time and I’ve heard a rumor that I can’t take it all with me. Welcome back. Missed you.

  17. Dionne says:

    Whatthef**88wheretheh*8lhaveubeen!! I was going to start calling all the local hospitals!! ;)
    In any case glad you’re back, even if only to know that I’m not the only one who buys toilet paper only if its on sale.

  18. Nancy says:

    I am so glad you are back Karen..Relaxing does not mean just vegging out on the couch..relaxing is also taking the time to do things that have been put off because you have been so busy doing other things..like entertaining us with your talent and wisdom..lol..I am glad that you took time off to “relax” as I know you will now share the great things you learned with us..I look forward to another year of your awesomeness!!

  19. DianneT says:

    Welcome Back! While I don’t find it difficult to just relax doing nothing, I can feel just as relaxed doing something I love or learning a new skill. Looking forward to your posts!

  20. Debbie says:

    I did miss you! and I thought I’d never get to the website this morning. I’m glad I did something right. I’m good at relaxing and my husband is better at it and farting.

  21. Anna says:

    is there a silkscreen tutorial coming soon??

  22. you were missed — but I totally get it! maintaining a diy blog (not to mention a life!) are exhausting!I did the same thing, forced myself to sit on the couch with the kids and watch movies…when everything inside of me was screaming to use that ‘occupied time’ to paint or photograph or post. What? did I think the world would come to an end and I’d lose every single reader because I wasn’t talking about nothing each day?! Anyway, I’m apparently making up for it in this long-winded comment! Point being, good for you for taking care of you! xo

  23. rachel says:

    i’m a champion relaxer. you inspire me to stop finding my toes to be so fascinating. love love love your blog, and i look forward to learning new things this year!!!

  24. Jen A says:

    ATB! Good goal, fella. It’s awesome. Did he know that there is a cheerleading high five-ing midget along the run, and the grim reaper meets you towards the end, along the cemetary. Beware.

    I knitted too. Knitting is the new cool. How can that NOT be relaxzzzzzing. Zzzzz.

    Happy 2012 Karen and the fella.

  25. Kim says:

    Good thing you failed at relaxing, Karen, otherwise you would’ve had to change the name of your blog…although “The Art of Doing Nothing” could already be taken…and doesn’t have the same ring… :)

  26. Learning to silkscreen is something I want to learn this year. Now I know it can be done. Love your sassy blog.


  27. Gloria says:

    Yes, you were terribly missed!!! I was relaxing as well (yeah right)…..taking down and putting xmas stuff out of the way…..I usually don’t until after the new year….but I got some new furniture, and the tree was in the way…..now, I see that we need to paint…..I need new drapes…oh and those windows….ok my list is very long….. so glad your back……

  28. celia says:

    you’re a nut! 8-D
    happy new year, karen. and i can’t wait to read all about your 2012.

  29. Inga says:

    I also “relaxed” by doing some crafty Christmas gifts, and my piece de resistance, bedside tables made from Hudson Bay popcorn cans :) It’s on my blog, if you’re interested!

  30. Jen says:

    Thank you Karen for not relaxing, I need to learn lots of stuff. Happy New Year!

  31. Barbie says:

    I think I am probably an undiagnosed ADD person, so I totally get what you mean about “relaxing” …..Love the idea of canning chicken broth or even “Turkey” broth. I am so doing that next year. Also I missed you too, but am glad you “tried” to relax….it’s the thought that counts! You’ll get better each time….before you know it you will be a champion loafer!

  32. Sharon says:

    Welcome back! By the way, yes, I noticed ~ glad to hear you were just relaxing. Looking forward to the silk screening lesson! And that pizza dough recipe!

    I, for one, am so happy the holidays are over and done. I’m ready to get back to a regular schedule and my own style of relaxing.


  33. Wow! that’s a new way of relaxing and I think it might suit me too, I’m allergic to the “sitting-around” kind of relaxing, it gives me a rash!
    So, you’re going to teach us to silk-screen-relax? Brill!

  34. Karen J says:

    Around the Bay! If you go as his cheerleader be sure to bundle up!
    Did you know (little Canadian trivia) that it’s the oldest road race in North America? It started 3 years before Boston:)

    P.S. Love the knitting shot. Had me feeling very relaxed.

    • Karen says:

      Karen J – I *did* know that! What’s funny is it isn’t *quite* a marathon. Maybe they didn’t have official marathon distances back then. Just reallyyyyyy long races. ~ karen!

  35. Brenda says:

    You were missed, morning coffee wasn’t the same but happy you had some time to do things you wanted to. On the news last night there is a woman in Guelph who has made ‘chicken sweaters’ for a couple of backyard clucks who had gotten their feathers plucked out by a bored fellow hen…they are keeping them warm, look fantastic, now the lady is working on caps & scarves for them..I see a knitting project here !! Oh and I can’t stop thinking about ‘linen’.

  36. Susan says:

    Have to tell you about my rolling pin. My eldest daughter lives in Austria… Yes I know …poo! But anyways she reads your blog too and saw that I had entered the contest for the rolling pin. She also saw that I didn’t win it! Yes … I know.. Poo! So for Christmas she decided to order one for me and proceeded to go thru all the entries to see which one I fancied! …. any one of them are beautiful … She found my entry, ordered the pin and had it shipped to my daughters house in Toronto to surprise me on Christmas day. I was thrilled! I have already made 5 pies! I can’t eat 5 pies. I wouldn’t be able to move if I ate 5 pies! But I love my new pin! Just thought you would want to know. P.S. glad you’re not relaxing anymore!

  37. magali says:

    when I bake I consider I am relaxing!

    welcome back, I missed you.

  38. I took a week off too! Wow it was good. And yowzers, it’s hard to get back in the swing…

  39. KiwiKat says:

    relaxing is all about finding what you WANT to do and doing that WHEN you want to…a former flatmate found it relaxing to jump out of planes every weekend. Me, I loved it, but it was not relaxing…my relaxing week has been sleeping and catching up on all the tv shows I’ve recorded and haven’t had a chance to watch…the cat loved it (I think), as he keeps falling asleep on the floor in front of my chair. And today, the last day of my holiday, the sun has finally made an appearance. The only day of summer we are going to have for a while. Sigh. And yeah, I know -16 is cold, but I shouldn’t be wearing long sleeved tops in summer, dammit.

  40. Elle says:

    I find baking very relaxing. When I’m upset / angry q terribly annoyed – I bake and relax. When things are realy bad – I clean the kitchen.
    Different people relax in different ways.

    I also tried to teach myself to knit with the help of online tutorials over the holiday. I got my kids beautiful knitting kits by Galt (http://www.galttoys.com/index.cfm/Art__Craft_and_Activity/1010/element/1046) for the holiday and we all tried to learn how to do it (I never knitted before – figured a kit for an 8 year old would be easy. was terribly wrong). Gave up really quickly. Need to find a living person to see if what we are doing is correct.

    • kelly says:

      Try going to knittinghelp.com it’s a great site lots of helpful videos if you get stuck you can ask questions in the forum, or faq. even youtube has videos up now.

  41. Robyn says:

    I also relaxed. I might just make that championship coz I did diddly squat!

    Looking forward to what you have in store.

  42. Karen, No Chickens Died In The Making Of That Stock did they? Not real chickens that we know names of…

    • Karen says:

      Tricia – No. Cuddles, Norma, Walnut and Cheez Whiz are all nestled snug in their beds. I had to put a heat lamp on for them tonight. It’s supposed to be our first cold night of around -16. Not sure what that is in Fahrenheit. Cold. Love, love, LOVE my sheets by the way. They make me smile every night. ~ karen!

  43. diane says:

    You were missed. Now I will have to unsubscribe from all those other bloggers that I subscribed to while you were RELAXING. My inbox in now crowded with far less fun stuff than the Art of…

  44. I took more than a week off… I’m super bad like that. ;) As for all that other stuff… you make me look like I’m standing still!! I look forward to learning from your productivity though. :)

  45. itchbay says:

    I am eagerly awaiting your lesson on how to silk screen. That and speaking Mandarin, but I guess I will have to be patient on that latter one.

  46. Marti says:

    Aw, welcome back! You suck at relaxing, don’t you?

    Two things. First, what kind of yarn is that? (Plz include color.)

    Second, do you want my “Chinese Immersion” dvd when I’m done with it?

    • Karen says:

      Yeah, I do. But I’m really trying to get better at it because I honestly think it’s an imperative part of a healthy being. Or something like that. Rowan yarn, Drift. colour #00903. :) ~ karen!

      • Marti says:

        thanks! Ravelry.com?

        • Karen says:

          No. Local knitting shop. My mom got wool and a Rowan knitting pattern book for Xmas. She too wants me to relax, I guess. ~ karen!

        • Violet says:

          I noticed the yarn was suspiciously the same color as the cat and thought, “And she found time to card and spin her own yarn, too!”

        • Karen says:

          Violet – I know a family who does that! ~ karen

        • Violet says:

          LOL I would ask “So Karen, how does one make cat yarn?,” but I’m guessing even with the most shedding-est cat in the world, it would be hard to get enough yarn for anything bigger than a doily. You’d need a whole herd of cats, and then you’d have to build a cat barn (which would take months, so you’d have a shed full of cats), and then they’d start chasing the chickens so you’d have to buy (no, sorry, MAKE) a million little cat toys to keep them occupied, and the whole thing would get completely out of hand.

        • Karen says:

          Out of hand? I don’t think that seems out of hand. Totally manageable. ~ karen

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